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Ahlgren Vineyard, California – Dexter and Valerie Ahlgren

February 2, 2012

Why do you do what you do?

Ahlgren Vineyard began in 1976 as an early retirement project.

Why do you choose to do it the way you do?

We have been oriented to “greenness” for a very long time, well, predating the winery. We have managed the property organically since 1972. The idea of a clean, healthy, sustainable place to live, the environment, is irresistible.

What obstacles have you overcome?

Early discovery that we had no usable well after a well driller falsified the well report and we bought the property based on that test.  We won a law suit based on the falsification of the report and the County permitted us to develop a rain water collection and storage system that has served us very well over the years.

What disasters have you survived?

The discovery that we had no water supply was pretty terrifying and caused some sleepless nights, but harvesting rainwater has turned out to provide a wonderful water supply. We have been through the arctic snows of ’74/75 which brought down trees, and power in the Santa Cruz Mountains; the torrential and damaging rains of ’82, all without damage.  We did suffer earthquake damage in ’89, but that was all reparable.

Are you happy with your work?

We love doing what we do, and love living here in this lovely place in the Santa Cruz Mountains with the redwoods behind us to the north and expansive views to the south.

Is it worth the effort?

It has been more than worth it. It has been a great adventure. The thing is, even here, doing what we love, we are getting pretty old. Wish we could keep doing it forever, but we have checked the actuarial tables, and that does not seem likely.



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